The Top Basic Cable Networks for July 2018 Are…

By A.J. Katz 

It’s official: Fox News Channel is now the most-watched basic cable network for 25 consecutive months as a result of its July 2018 victory across the 6 a.m. – 6 a.m. total daypart. That’s more than two straight years at No. 1. The network averaged nearly 1.4 million total viewers in July 2018, which is +4 percent growth from July 2017.

FNC had an extremely impressive month in prime time, ratings-wise, thanks to myriad high-profile political events including President Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, which delivered a massive audience for Fox News. The network averaged 2.4 million total prime time viewers in July, which is +14 percent growth from July 2017.

MSNBC posted year-over-year declines in July, a rarity for a network that has been growing its audience in an era of resistance against the Trump administration. The network was -4 percent in total prime time viewers, -20 percent in the prime time demo, -1 percent in total day viewers, and -16 percent among adults 25-54 across total day.


Perhaps progressives are starting to get Trump fatigue? Not so fast. MSNBC still managed to finish July as the second-most-watched basic cable network in prime time, and No. 3 in total day. Not half bad.

CNN had a solid ratings month in its own right. The network remained flat in terms of total prime time viewers vs. July 2017 – due in part to a strong performance from Cuomo Prime Time – but posted losses from last year in total day. CNN finished July 2018 as the No. 7 basic cable network during the 24-hour total day, and the No. 10 basic cable network in prime time.

Here’s a list of the 10-most-watched basic cable networks for July 2018 in prime time and in total day. Data is Nielsen live-plus-same-day.

Top 10 for July 2018 – Prime Time

  1. Fox News (2,406,000)
  2. MSNBC (1,663,000)
  3. HGTV (1,360,000)
  4. USA (1,344,000)
  5. History (1,115,000)
  6. Discovery (1,075,000)
  7. Hallmark Channel (1,024,000)
  8. Investigation Discovery (1,010,000)
  9. TBS (999,000)
  10. CNN (891,000)

Top 10 for July 2018 – Total Day

  1. FNC (1,368,000)
  2. Nickelodeon (936,000)
  3. MSNBC (921,000)
  4. HGTV (763,000)
  5. Investigation Discovery (725,000)
  6. Hallmark Channel (644,000)
  7. CNN (638,000)
  8. USA (612,000)
  9. History (562,000)
  10. TNT (544,000)


Basic Cable Network Ranker: July 2018 (Total Viewers)